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Duval County School Board Working To Teach Parents About Assistance Programs For Utilities, Internet

Lindsey Kilbride

Jacksonville city officials want to make it easier for parents of school children to find out about social services.

Duval County School Board and City Council members talked Monday about how to publicize available programs.

Paula Wright and Connie Hall represent school board Districts 4 and 5 in the north and west areas of Jacksonville. The districts have a lot of kids on free and reduced lunch.

On Monday, Wright and Hall met with council members to hear from JEA, United Way and Comcast about programs they have for families who may need low-cost internet, or help with bills.

Hall says when parents have less to worry about, so do their children.

Hall said, “Students can come to school and enter classrooms read to learn free from worrying about whether, how do we pay the light bill? When I get home will the lights be on? When I get home, you know, will I get access to the internet?”

To get the information out, the group’s considering giving out packets in free backpacks and at open houses. Or maybe JTA would donate an ad on the side of a bus, they said.

The City Council and School Board plan to meet again in October.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.